Bay City

Close up on beams of Bay City wreck
Showing the inside the shallow water shipwreck Bay City, a close-up of the timbers of the framing structure of the ship’s hull are illuminated underwater, showing algae and mussel growth. Credit: Jennifer Idol

Vessel Type: Sail: wooden two-masted schooner barge

GPS Location: N45° 03.369’ W83° 25.605’

Depth: 11 Feet

Wreck Length: 146 Feet

Beam: 29 Feet

Gross Tonnage: 306

Cargo: None

Launched: 1857 by Augustus Tripp at Saginaw, Michigan

Wrecked: November 29, 1902

Mooring Buoy Data

Description: In late November 1902, the 146-foot schooner Bay City anchored off Alpena while waiting to take on a load of lumber. When a fierce south wind whipped across Thunder Bay, the schooner dragged anchor and slammed into a lumber dock 75 yards north of the river’s mouth. The Alpena Argus reported, “After an unsuccessful attempt to pump Thunder Bay through the barge Bay City, the wreckers had to give up the job of trying to get her afloat. She has made her last trip.”

Today, the Bay City rests just 1,000 feet from shore in less than 15 feet of water. While Lake Huron’s wind and waves have splayed open the wreck, plenty remains for divers, kayakers and paddlers to explore.

Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive:

=Close up on Bay City wreck
A plan or overhead view of the timbers of the shipwreck remains shows the timbers called the keelson or the backbone part of the hull structure of the Bay City. Credit: Jennifer Idol
Diver with Bay City wreck
A scuba diver swims over the wreckage of the wooden shipwreck Bay City, shining a flashlight on the wooden timbers. Credit: Jennifer Idol
A scan of Bay City wreck
Side scan sonar image shows the shipwreck site of Bay City on the bottom of Lake Huron.